4 ways to assess organizational fit

4 ways to assess organizational fit

If you’re focused on assessing organizational fit when hiring, you’re without a doubt on the right track. That’s how you’ll get closer to hiring people that are more likely to stay longer in your company and do their best. But, how can you make your assessment more accurate, with that perspective in mind? Let’s discuss four simple ways you may try for size when recruiting your new employees.

Before we get into the core part of our discussion, let’s get an overview of the key parts of our topic; to make sure we’re on the same page. That is to say, let’s define “organizational fit” and the core benefits that stem from it. 

What is organizational fit? 

Every company has a cultural identity that is mainly the result of common experiences and beliefs shared by both leaders and employees. Theoretical as it may sound, it has a rather concrete implementation. And what’s that? Well, the way these beliefs translate into acceptable attitudes and behaviors, eventually delineates the working environment of a company. To further explain, employees’ development, management and hiring — along with other business aspects — are all strictly defined by those unwritten norms. That is to say, decisions are driven by these beliefs. 

Now, speaking of hiring, our key concept boils down to whether this longed-for compatibility between what the new employee brings to the table — in terms of beliefs — and the already established company culture is feasible or not. That’s what will finally define whether there will be an organizational fit — or cultural fit, as it is alternatively known — or not.

Since you’re looking for ways to achieve organizational fit with your hires, you probably appreciate the benefits this brings in. Let’s have a quick overview of them.

Why is assessing organizational fit crucial for a startup or small business?

You probably know the struggles and the challenges you’re dealing with on a daily basis much better than we do. Startups, for instance, inherently have to cope with an increased risk of failure. Small businesses, on the other hand, have to win customers over fierce competition. On top of the aforementioned challenges, there’s also the challenge of finding the right people. Not to mention, making the most of the limited financial resources both startups and small businesses have at their disposal, at the same time. 

Successful hiring decisions that derive from successful assessments of organizational fit, benefit startups and small businesses in the following ways:

  • Create a positive work environment 
  • Increase employee satisfaction
  • Promote engagement and motivation 
  • Improve productivity
  • Reinforce team cohesion: everyone should focus on the same goals 
  • Increase retention, save time and money that you’d otherwise need
  • Employees become the ambassadors of your company and promote your company’s brand. 
  • Further attract talent

So, how can you make the assessment of your staff-to-be more accurate? How can you ensure they’ll be the perfect fit for that particular role within your organization? Read on!

4 ways to successfully assess organizational fit 

We may have not mentioned it clearly yet — or, at least, stressed it enough on this point; but, assessing for organizational fit is a demanding and risky endeavor. Your effort, no matter how considerable it may be, may lead you to flawed assumptions as to who your candidates are; and whether they fit into your organization. To save yourself and your team/partners the headache of unpleasant situations down the line, you should use alternative methods and approaches; such as the ones we describe below. This way, you’ll manage to mitigate the risk of hiring someone who eventually won’t fill the shoes. 

1. Make the most out of the interview process 

As we have previously explained here, interviews — preferably in person — offer you a great opportunity to evaluate a candidate’s work ethic and behavioral style. And that’s only if you ask the right questions. To further explain, your questions should leave no room for prepared answers; but, rather, force — or guide — your candidates to be more analytic in their responses and, hopefully, more authentic altogether.

Another point worth mentioning here is that you may renew these meetings with future employees, as many times as needed. Typically, the screening process unfolds as follows: 

  • The first interview gives you the opportunity to get to know your applicants. Perhaps even give them some homework and establish a response pattern.
  • The second one should focus on asking deeper and more specific questions that will help you learn more about your candidates’ personality.
  • A third, final interview, is probably the most crucial one; this is the one that will probably help you make your final assessment and find whether they do fit in your organization or not. 

As stressed above, you should focus on asking the questions that will help uncover the interviewee’s character. In the same way, you should not hesitate to recycle your questions; re-focus on the ones your interviewees didn’t sufficiently answer during a previous meeting. That’s how you’ll be able to re-examine the validity of their answers. 

2. Bring your partners into the interview process

Keeping to the interview theme, it would be much more useful if you had a second pair of eyes — or ears, if you prefer — to keep some quality notes during the interview process. To further explain, involving different members of your team during the screening stages will prove to be  mostly helpful in reaching your final decision. Undoubtedly, your — and your colleagues’ — time is precious, but this is about your organization’s future; so get them in the loop. More specifically, opt to involve successful employees in this process; focus on the ones who act as the internal ambassadors of your company’s culture. And don’t forget to also draw into this any team members that will work closely with your new hires; try to make sure there’s good chemistry between them. 

3. Assess organizational fit with personality tests

Hiring new employees, while aiming to achieve organizational fit based on an interview is, undoubtedly, a risky endeavor for a non-HR individual. The good news is, there are plenty of solutions out there that help you make well-informed decisions. These tests help you reduce the uncertainty that unstructured interviews inherently entail. The outputs of the latter are open to interpretation; and that means you may be misled in your decisions. Solutions such as pre-employment personality tests help make sure that your assessment is not terribly biased. And thus, they offer precise filtering of your candidates. There are plenty of solutions available,  such as TraitForward. Which, to take personality assessment a step further, offers you vocation-specific evaluations

4. Start with a trial period, at the office 

As a last resort, we’d strongly recommend that you try to get the opportunity to see whether your new hire does make for an organizational fit; that is, by placing them on “probation”. Hiring your new employee with a short-term contract allows you to observe their behavior and interaction with your team, in real time. This can be as short as a month or as long as 90-days.

Apart from that, this introductory and testing period will be a great opportunity for them to test the waters for themselves; see if your work environment meets their expectations. You probably think that this tactic comes a bit late, since you’ll have already hired them. But, the truth is, by doing so you’ll help both your company and your new hire be mindful of the pros and the cons of your employment relationship. In fact, at the beginning of it!

Steps to follow 

Now, as for the practical aspects of that approach, you should keep in mind the following key points: 

  • Make sure you have established an induction process. That, on one hand, will help  employees with a smooth start. On the other hand, you’ll be able to understand whether they can adapt or not. 
  • Assign an experienced member of your team to advise — and, perhaps, also supervise — your new employee(s).
  • Finally, you need to make sure that you have already concluded as to what your filtering criteria will be. Among other things, you’ll need to evaluate their performance and skills; and, above all, their behavior, since that’s what makes or breaks organizational fit.

After applying your evaluation tactics, if it’s not yet clear as to whether they “fit into” your organization, you should turn to an alternative evaluation method; such as the personality assessment tests we mentioned earlier. 

If you’re skeptical regarding the cost of personality assessment tests and you’re afraid you may not be able to meet the budget for it, have a look at TraitForward.io’s pricing plans.  

Summing it up

As a non-HR expert, when assessing your candidates for organizational fit, you need to keep in mind that the interview process alone may mislead you. One way to mitigate the risk involved, is to set multiple interview stages; while letting experienced members of your team help. In the same fashion, a trial period in the office would, most likely, be eye-opening; both for your candidates and for your team. In any case, to gain a better understanding of whether your new hires are compatible with your culture, you should make the most out of personality assessment tests, such as the ones available in TraitForward.io.

Give it a try